Honley FC vs Campion AFC Dev
Date: 29th August 2015
Venue: Honley High School Playing Fields
Referee: Stuart Ramsden
Man of the Match: Louis Etienne
Carl Trenerry (c)
Chris Hellewell (on 61 for Ludford)
Luke Sharpe (on 68 for Green)
Ben Cheetham (on 73 for Hields)
Honed Tactics Humble Honey
It seemed strange as the Campion AFC First Team were playing their fifth game of the new season that the Development Squad were only playing their second competitive game. After an encouraging but perhaps disappointing draw with Wibsey FC their next test was an away tie at newly promoted Honley FC.
Honley had started with three wins from their opening three games, an unbeaten run which included a 4-2 defeat of last seasons runners up Ventus/Yeadon.
Campion set up with a defensive 4-5-1 formation looking to dominate the midfield and be difficult to break down on their travels. And while there was a nervy start, the packed midfield and consistent defensive talents of Carl Trenerry and Jaden Powell ensured it didn’t cost.
In fact it was only a very dubious offside call which saw Honley open the scoring as a cross drifted to the back post where a seemingly offside forward headed the ball home. It’s always difficult going a goal down, but even more dis-spiriting when it was seemingly unjust.
Louis Etienne in the centre of midfield saw the situation and rightly suggested the team press a little higher now a goal down, and it not only seemed to unnerve the Honley side but also gave more space and opportunity for Campion to play their game. Cam Green, employed on the right hand side of midfield was penetrating and earned the side a corner.
The subsequent corner, played in by late addition to the team sheet Jordan Haygard swung over to the back post were Josh Ludford was more than a little relieved to break his duck and equalise for an elated Campion side.
It seemed to breed confidence into the Campion side who continued to work hard all over the pitch. The defence stood strong and Aaron Metcalfe, Louis Etienne and Damien Hields worked hard to ensure Honley were allowed little time on the ball in the opposition half. The efforts limited chances, and although there was the odd shot on goal, it was actually a Jaden Powell clearance that went closest, firing off a Honley attacker but luckily straight at an unaware Karl Renardson who deflected it away from goal.
At half time there was a real confidence about the side. The plan was working and the team sensed the match was there to be won. Nothing was to change as Campion continued to stamp their authority on the game. It was slowly working as Honley had less possession and fewer opportunities. The midfield three began to play the ball around leaving the Honley players chasing shadows and Jordan Haygard looked threatening every time he got the ball.
After 60 minutes Josh Ludford, who had ably worked for the cause, was replaced by Chris Hellewell, despite only landing from a trip to Mexico at 11am that morning. Not long after, Cam Green made way for youngster Luke Sharpe to offer fresh legs on the right hand side and then Ben Cheetham, making an overdue Campion return replaced Damien Hields.
Within five minutes of making the change it seemed as if Palfreeman had pulled off a masterstroke as Sharpe harassed his way into the penalty area and smartly chipped the ball across the goal as the goalkeeper dived at his feet to give Cheetham the opportunity to bundle the ball in with his chest.
As if woken up by the realisation of the possibility of defeat, the Honley side pressed hard for an equaliser. And it nearly came as bodies were thrust forward putting pressure on the Campion defence. A goalbound shot was wonderfully saved by Karl Renardson whose strong hand tipped the ball onto the bar only for an attacking header from the rebound to head comfortably over the bar.
Eventually the whistle went and Campion had pulled off what could prove to be an early season surprise or may simply signify better fortunes for the Bradford based side.